Click photo to enlarge
Concrete pour at La Fonda bridge begins Thursday at 7 a.m. (Dan Coyro/Sentinel)

SANTA CRUZ -- With the second concrete pour set for Thursday morning on the new La Fonda Avenue bridge, the $21 million project to expand one of the county's busiest sections of highway is entering the home stretch.

"It will start to look more like a bridge," said Karena Pushnik of the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission. "But we still have more work to do -- the sidewalks, railings, lighting."

Concrete trucks will line up on the ocean side of La Fonda Avenue to pour the concrete with little congestion expected in the neighborhood near Oak Way because Harbor High School is closed for summer break, Pushnik said.

The concrete must cure for 10 days before crews can continue working on the deck and remove the temporary structures known as "falsework" that form the bridge.

The new bridge is part of a project to widen the lanes between the Soquel and Morrissey exits for cars entering and exiting the highway between those two exits.

La Fonda Avenue bridge is expected to be ready for traffic again by the end of August, and the new auxiliary lanes should be open in late September, Pushnik said.

The highway will be closed from late night to early morning in one direction between Soquel and Morrissey around mid-July while construction crews take down the falsework.

Crews are installing rebar and the concrete footing for structural support of a sound wall west of the bridge, and blocks for the stretch of sound

wall on the northbound side of the highway will be set during the next month.

Landscaping has started with irrigation lines placed near the Morrissey Boulevard interchange.

It's expected to take at least one year to establish the new plants, including 100 new redwoods through the area.

The regional transportation commission plans to hold a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the completed project in October.

Follow Sentinel reporter Shanna McCord at Twitter.com/scnewsmom

HIGHWAY 1 AUXILIARY LANES

Milestones

Mid-July: Highway will be closed in one direction from late night to early morning for removal of temporary steel and wood support beams for La Fonda Avenue bridge.

Late August: Bridge is expected to be open.

September: New lanes between Soquel Drive and Morrissey Boulevard should be complete.

---

©2013 the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.)

Visit the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.) at www.santacruzsentinel.com